Tuesday, January 9, 2024



A family I was visiting told me a story that reminded me of something similar, dealing with the Niño (Infant Jesus) going around the village at Christmas time.

When they were teenagers, these siblings, who are now in the 70s and up, would be sent by the mother or grandmother with pans of empanåda (chicken pies) to sell to earn the family extra income.

They were told not to dare come home unless they had sold every single empanåda, but some days it was simply hard to. Knowing they would be scolded or spanked if they didn't sell everything, they wondered what to do.

They found the magic formula. They would look for a house where the family and maybe some friends were gathered in the carport or porch playing poker for money. A house playing poker was a sure way to sell every last empanåda.

This reminded me of what some people said who took the Niño house-to-house for veneration at Christmas time.

They said the houses that donated the most to the Niño were the houses where gambling was going on when the Niño arrived.

Many times those gamblers were not the most pious Catholics. Some hadn't even been to church in years. Perhaps in order to assuage their guilt, they'd drop a hundred-dollar bill into the donation box when the Niño came for them to kiss.

Oh the ways of human nature.

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